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Crisis Forces Greeks from Constantinople to Return to Turkey

A new reversed type of migration is in progress lately. Greeks from Istanbul, whose families had left the city after the mass exoduses in 1964, are now returning to their former hometowns because of the financial crisis plaguing Greece.

But these Greeks are not the only ones choosing to migrate to Istanbul. Many more people with no apparent connection to Istanbul are following the same path.

This new migration wave was brought to light by His Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who told Turkish daily Hürriyet that “people who had left Turkey in the past are now reconsidering returning here due to the terrible financial circumstances in Greece. And there are many others too, who simply wish to come here in search of a better job and life”.

According to the Greek newspaper Proto Thema, officials from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and other Greek organizations based in İstanbul have been flooded with calls and letters from Greeks eager to get advice about finding work and housing in İstanbul. At least a decade of fiscal austerity looms in Greece, even after bailout countries agreed to a comprehensive relief plan at last week’s summit of European leaders.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Interior’ reports, from the beginning of the Greek debt crisis in 2009 and until now, more than 2.500 Greeks have migrated to the neighboring country with the prospect of working and living there either for a shorter or longer period of time.

Most of these migrants come from the broader area of Attica or are somehow connected to Greek families having lived once in Istanbul. The general atmosphere in Turkey is rather positive towards Greeks visiting the country.

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